The National Basketball Association (NBA) does not have a sole group ownership. Rather it is a collection of 30 organizations and teams owned by their respective shareholders.
Like any other sports leagues and sports franchises, there is no overarching majority owner of the sport and league itself; again, it is a collection of different owners and sports teams.
Do you want to know more about the NBA team owners? Read on as I explain each one of them.
Richest NBA Owners And Their Respective NBA Teams
It is important to keep in mind that some of them may be owners of another sports team. In this article, I will mainly focus on their role as NBA team owners.
1. Antony Ressler (Atlanta Hawks)
Antony Ressler is the proud owner of his NBA team, the Atlanta Hawks.
Before handling the Hawks, he co-founded Apollo Global Management in 1990, alongside the private equity firm Ares Management.
The NBA franchise has slowly improved over the years and continues to do so, increasing its value over time, especially with the addition of Trae Young.
2. Steve Pagliuca (Boston Celtics)
Steve Pagliuca is the managing partner and chairman of the Boston Celtics’ Basketball Committee.
Pagliuca’s goal in the Boston Celtics organization is to improve its basketball operations, with his experience as part of the NBA Board of Governors and NBA Competition Committee.
While having his role with his NBA team, he is one of the managing directors of Bain Capital.
With all of his roles, he can build his businesses into top international private equity firms, especially with his Net Worth and Capital of $80 billion.
3. Joseph Tsai (Brooklyn Nets)
Joseph Tsai is one of the richest owners of the NBA. Not only does he currently own the Brooklyn Nets, but he is also the current vice-chairman and co-founder of Alibaba Group.
Through Alibaba and the leadership of Jack Ma, Tsai was able to make his money, combined with his two degrees from Yale University.
Joseph Tsai managed to own the Brooklyn Nets by buying a 49% stake in 2018 and buying the remaining 51% in 2019.
The Brooklyn Nets NBA team is one of the most dangerous teams in the whole NBA, and their roster is built to win a championship soon.
4. Michael Jordan (Charlotte Hornets)
In July 2023, it was reported that the NBA board has approved Michael Jordan’s sale of majority stake to a group led by Rick Schnall and Gabe Plotkin.
Michael Jordan is arguably the greatest basketball player to ever set foot on an NBA court. Jordan was so good his presence on the court brought TV ratings to an all-time high.
Because of his popularity, his global icon figure made him one of the richest athletes of all time. You get one rich person combined with his 6 championships with the Chicago Bulls.
In 2010, Michael Jordan became the major shareholder of the Charlotte Hornets, 22 years after George Shinn established the organization as an expansion team.
As the majority owner of the Hornets, Jordan owns 97% of the team’s equity and is constantly expanding his influence as the team’s owner, making good roster moves and draft picks.
5. Jerry Reinsdorf (Chicago Bulls)
Jerry Reinsdorf started his business career as a tax attorney for the IRS. However, most of his profit came from buying sports teams and letting their values increase over time.
Reinsdorf purchased the Chicago Bulls in 1985 for $9.2 million, a year after the franchise picked up Michael Jordan.
The rest is history, the franchise won six championships with Jordan, and the team’s value increased significantly, almost to $2 billion.
6. Daniel Gilbert (Cleveland Cavaliers)
Net Worth: $22.0B (2nd Richest Owner in the NBA)
Daniel Gilbert is one of the NBA’s most famous owners, mainly due to his rocky relationship with one of the greatest players, NBA champion LeBron James.
Because of Gilbert, the Cavaliers sports franchise managed to draft LeBron in the 2003 NBA Draft and build a title contender team in 2016, earning them the championship.
Gilbert is one of the richest owners and has a net worth of $30 billion because he found Quickens Loans, one of the most successful mortgage-lending firms in the world.
7. Mark Cuban (Dallas Mavericks)
Mark Cuban is arguably the most famous NBA majority owner on this list.
Cuban is known for being one of the few owners on courtside with the Dallas Mavericks every time they play at home in Dallas, Texas.
He founded Broadcast.com, a popular video portal platform back in the 90s. Cuban sold it to Yahoo for $5.7 billion in 1999.
The business move pushed Cuban to pursue his passion for sports and decided to own the Dallas Mavericks; the rest is history.
8. Ann Walton Kroenke (Denver Nuggets)
Net Worth: $9.1B (5th Richest Owner in the NBA)
Ann Walton Kroenke is the wife of Stanley Kroenke, one of the richest people worldwide.
Stanley and Ann are most known for their Walmart fortune and involvement in the sports scene, and their ownership of over 10 million square feet of real estate.
Stanley Kroenke owns three successful organizations: the British football organization Arsenal FC, the Los Angeles Rams (champions of the Superbowl), and the Colorado Rapids (MLS).
Due to Stanley’s involvement in many organizations, he decided to give his wife, Ann, the following organizations: the Denver Nuggets and NHL’s Colorado Avalanche.
9. Tom Gores (Detroit Pistons)
Tom Gores is an immigrant of the USA coming from Israel at the age of four. He made his profits and income by working for over 40 companies.
Gores and his investment in the Pistons continue to grow with his newly built HQ and training center for the players. These buildings opened in 2019, so they are freshly built.
The investments for the Pistons will hopefully make Tom Gores win a championship with the organization.
10. Joe Lacob (Golden State Warriors)
Joe Lacob is possibly the most successful owner in recent NBA history for being the owner of the most winning team, the Golden State Warriors.
From 2015 onwards, the Warriors have remained a constant threat to the entire league and have been to the NBA finals 6 times, their most recent being the current 2022 NBA finals.
Lacob and his investment group made one of the best investments in 2010, buying the Warriors franchise. Over time, the franchise’s value grew significantly and continues to grow.
Superstars Steph Curry and Klay Thompson are a staple in the NBA, and with Lacob’s ownership and managerial skills, his investments and net worth have grown so much.
11. Tilman Fertitta (Houston Rockets)
Tilman Fertitta is a special case of someone dropping out of college and banking on his past experiences in the business industry, particularly his father’s seafood restaurant.
His heavy involvement in the entertainment industry made him decide to own the Golden Nugget Casinos. However, his involvement would go deeper with his purchase of the Rockets.
With his ownership of the Rockets, Fertitta aims to make his hometown team a title contender to eventual NBA champions.
12. Herb Simon (Indiana Pacers)
Herb Simon is one of the founders of the Simon Property Group. The group has around 200 properties worldwide, the States being the most common place with their properties.
Because of the property group, Herb has a net worth capable of owning an NBA team.
With the help of his brother Melvin, Herb purchased the Indiana Pacers franchise in 1983.
They’ve seen a massive return on investment due to stars coming into the team like Reggie Miller and Paul George. They eventually aim to win the NBA title with a future star.
13. Steve Ballmer (Los Angeles Clippers)
Net Worth: $100.0B (No. 1 Richest Owner in the NBA)
Steve Ballmer is the richest owner in the NBA, with a net worth of $100 billion.
The former CEO of Microsoft took ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers back in 2014, around the same time that the Lob City Clippers were at their peak performance.
Like Mark Cuban, Ballmer is fond of attending Clippers games as he is seen watching the games courtside.
While the Clippers may not be at their best right now, they will eventually become huge threats to the NBA with the inclusion of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
14. Jeanie Marie Buss (Los Angeles Lakers)
Jeanie Marie Buss is the daughter of the late Jerry Buss and the owner of the Los Angeles Lakers, formerly known as the Minneapolis Lakers.
Jeanie started her career at 19 years old as the general manager of the LA Strings professional tennis team and proceeded to own a professional hockey team, the LA Blades.
Buss would eventually get her hands on one of the most successful NBA teams to ever play on the basketball court, the Lakers.
One of Buss’ most renowned accomplishments is her victory with the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA championship in 2020 against the Miami Heat.
15. Robert Pera (Memphis Grizzlies)
Net Worth: $14.4B (4th Richest Owner in the NBA)
The Memphis Grizzlies were always the sleeping giant of the NBA. No one would talk about them; next thing you know, they’re top two in the league.
The Grizzlies started catching steam when team owner Robert Pera and the rest of the organization picked up Ja Morant.
Robert Pera is one of the richest owners in the NBA because he is the founder of the wireless equipment maker Ubiquiti Networks.
With a very successful company at hand, Pera is capable of investing in the Grizzlies, giving them the resources they need and the facilities to improve the players and staff.
16. Micky Arison (Miami Heat)
Micky Arison is one of the most successful owners in the NBA, taking ownership of the Miami Heat ever since 1995.
Before owning the Heat, Arison was the chairman and owner of Carnival Corporation, one of the largest and most successful cruise ship operators worldwide.
Arison has witnessed the D-Wade era, the big-three era in Lebron, Wade and Bosh, and Jimmy Butler and company’s rebuilt and stable era.
He has won three championships with the Heat and is looking to win more for the organization and the city of Miami.
17. Marc Lasry (Milwaukee Bucks)
Marc Lasry, before his ownership of the Bucks, is the current chairman, co-founder, and CEO of Avenue Capital Group, a global investment firm that was founded in 1995.
Lasry’s road to obtaining the NBA franchise is nothing short but amazing because all the funds he got were from hedge funds and investment groups.
Currently, the Bucks are looking to be one of the best teams in the league, thanks to their superstar, Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The organization has previously won the 2021 NBA Finals after a drought of not winning the title for over 50 years. They continue to improve and become a scary team for others to face.
18. Glen Taylor (Minnesota Timberwolves)
Glen Taylor’s tenure as the Minnesota Timberwolves majority owner has not seen success compared to other owners of the NBA.
The last time the organization saw success was during the Kevin Garnett superstar era, and they still didn’t win a championship with him on the team.
They have not reached the level of success they wished to reach, but slowly they’ve been gaining form with the improvement of Karl-Anthony Towns and small changes that have been an extremely positive force for the team.
In their most recent form, the Timberwolves will have new majority owners in Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez by 2023, and hopefully, that will spark a flame within the team.
19. Gayle Benson (New Orleans Pelicans)
Gayle Benson is the wife of former New Orleans Pelicans and New Orleans Saints Principal Owner Tom Benson.
The Bensons were involved with the organization when they were previously known as the New Orleans Hornets.
However, one of the major concerns for the organization is that Tom’s daughter has an ongoing dispute with Gayle on the control of assets regarding the two major organizations.
As for the team, the Pelicans, with their massive changes to their staff and roster, look to be a consistent threat to the NBA.
20. James Dolan (New York Knicks)
James Dolan is one of the more infamous owners of the NBA, as he is known to make very questionable decisions and leadership skills that bank on dominating rather than respect.
The Knicks had their moments with stars like Carmelo Anthony and Julius Randle, but they haven’t made the Finals since 1999 says much about the organization.
They have yet to find success under Dolan’s ownership, but they are slowly improving with their roster capable of beating the strong teams in the league.
21. Clay Bennett (Oklahoma City Thunder)
Before the Oklahoma City Thunder, the franchise was known as the Seattle SuperSonics.
Clay Bennett and his group, the LLC, tried to keep the franchise in Seattle, but they failed to get the $500 million in public funding to build a new arena in Seattle, moving from there to Oklahoma.
OKC has been a staple in the NBA for introducing stars Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden.
They continue to strive for improvement with a bright future with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddy and their future draft picks.
22. Richard DeVos (Orlando Magic)
As the owner of the Orlando Magic ever since the drafting of Shaquille O’Neal in 1993, Richard DeVos was always a well-respected owner in the league.
Despite never winning the championship before he sadly passed away in 2018, he has reached the level of success previous owners would want to reach.
The closest he’s reached to a title was in the 1994 finals when they faced Hakeem Olajuwon and the Rockets, losing the series.
The Magic, although not as good as their previous rosters, are slowly improving their team, as they recently landed the number 1 draft pick of 2022.
23. Joshua Harris (Philadelphia 76ers)
Before deciding to own the Philadelphia 76ers, Joshua Harris co-founded Apollo Global Management.
To this day, he still oversees the day-to-day operations of the firm. But now, together with his operations in Apollo, he is the owner of the Philadelphia 76ers.
With the addition of NBA superstars Joel Embiid and James Harden, the 76ers have a legitimate chance of winning the championship soon.
24. Robert Sarver (Phoenix Suns)
Robert Sarver bought the Phoenix Suns in 2014, being one of the more well-known owners in the league. However, he is known for the wrong reasons.
Many speculate that Sarver is not the best owner because of the organization’s drought of success since 2014, only reaching the finals last year with Chris Paul and the company.
With Deandre Ayton not re-signing with the Suns, especially after their downfall in this year’s playoffs, things are looking grim for the organization.
25. Jody Allen (Portland Trail Blazers)
Net Worth: $20.3B (3rd Richest Owner in the NBA)
Paul Allen, the former co-founder of Microsoft, bought the Portland Trail Blazers in 1988 and has seen the organization’s value increase over time.
Although sadly passing away in 2018, Paul Allen gave the ownership of the Trail Blazers to his sister, Jody Allen.
Despite the Trail Blazers not being the most successful team in the league, their roster is a consistent roster filled with talent, especially Damian Lillard.
26. Vivek Ranadive (Sacramento Kings)
Vivek Ranadive is a well-educated entrepreneur with degrees from MIT and Harvard.
Ranadive was the co-owner and vice-chairman of the Golden State Warriors in 2010 before buying the Sacramento Kings in 2013.
The Kings have yet to reach the level of success they want to achieve, but with a young team roster and a rebuilding process, they will reach the ultimate goal of winning the NBA title soon.
27. Peter Holt (San Antonio Spurs)
Peter Holt has been the owner of the San Antonio Spurs since 1993, making him one of the most successful owners in sports history.
The organization has won 5 NBA titles under the wing of Gregg Popovich and NBA Hall of Famers Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobli.
Although they have yet to reach that same level of firepower, the Spurs are looking to be one of the most overlooked rosters with young talent and potential superstars.
28. Larry Tanenbaum (Toronto Raptors)
As the chair of Maple Leaf Sports Entertainment, Larry Tanenbaum used his stake with the company to claim ownership of the Toronto Raptors franchise.
The Raptors is one of the youngest organizations in the NBA, and it managed to bag an NBA title back in 2019 when they won against the Warriors under Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry.
The organization will be a threat in the NBA with rising stars like Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet and will continue to strive to win more titles.
29. Ryan Smith (Utah Jazz)
Ryan Smith is the current owner of the Utah Jazz.
He owned the franchise because he convinced investors to purchase the organization for around $1.5 billion.
Despite not advancing far enough in the NBA playoffs, the organization has proven time and time again that they are potential NBA champs; all they need is more time and rebuilding.
30. Theodore Leonsis (Washington Wizards)
As the founder of Monumental Sports, a Washington-based company, Theodore Leonsis was bound to own the Washington Wizards with other Washington teams.
While the organization has yet to be a title-contending team, the roster is filled with a mixture of seasoned players, young talent, and veterans.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
I have listed down the questions that are most frequently asked about NBA team ownership.
1. Is The NBA A Private Entity?
Yes. The NBA is an independent and fully self-managed entity.
The organization has been an independently managed entity working outside the US Basketball Federation throughout NBA history.
It is indeed a private entity like other sports businesses and sports entertainment.
2. Who Is the Richest Owner Of The NBA?
As I have previously stated above, the richest team owner of the NBA is Steve Ballmer, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers.
With a net worth of $100.0 billion, he is undoubtedly the richest NBA team owner in the whole of the NBA.
So, “who owns the NBA?” There is no sole owner or solitary majority shareholder of the league. The NBA consists of 30 owners with some of the highest net worth individuals in the world.
Being an owner of an NBA basketball team or other sports franchises takes a lot of time and money, but the rewards are staggeringly beneficial.
The most successful sports teams have proper ownership, leadership, and management. Without those, the franchise will fail from the get-go.